Something magical happens to the Brussels sprouts, chestnuts, and grapes when they are left to soak with each other in a bath of Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, and their own natural juices. A subtle sharp sweetness, with hints of bitterness, gradually emerges, giving the dish a real festive quality. It’s the Shaoxing that makes the greatest impact), with its complex sweetness and depth. This Chinese wine, fermented from rice, is available in most Asian supermarkets, but if you can’t get hold of it, use pale dry sherry instead.
The Brussels sprouts and chestnuts make this dish an obvious candidate for a holiday feast. Luckily, you can easily get ahead by cooking the shallots, garlic, chestnuts, and grapes the day before and allowing them to sit in the liquids overnight (refrigerated). The Brussels sprouts should be roasted and added to the bath the day you plan to serve the dish. Hold off on adding the pickled chiles and parsley until you serve.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/160°C fan.
- Put the shallots, garlic, chestnuts, bay leaves, and maple syrup into a 9 x 13-inch/23 x 33cm high-sided roasting pan with 7 tbsp/105ml of the olive oil, 5 tbsp/75ml of the Shaoxing wine, and 2 tbsp of the soy sauce. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and cook for 35 minutes, until the shallots are soft but still hold their shape. Stir in the grapes, cover again with foil, and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, take off the foil, and set aside.
- Increase the oven temperature to 450°F/220°C fan. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix the Brussels sprouts with the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil and ¼ tsp salt, then spread out on the prepared baking sheets. Roast for about 16 minutes, switching the sheets halfway through, until the sprouts are browned, then add to the pan of grapes and chestnuts, gently mix everything together, and let rest, uncovered, at room temperature for 1 hour, if you can, or at least 30 minutes, for the flavors to develop.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix, the chiles with the rice vinegar, sugar, and ⅛ tsp salt and allow to pickle for 30 minutes.
- Once the Brussels sprouts have rested, stir in the remaining 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine and remaining 2 tbsp soy sauce. Stir in the parsley and transfer to a large, shallow serving bowl. Top with the pickled chiles and the pickling liquid and serve.
Reprinted with permission from Ottolenghi Flavor by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage copyright © 2020. Photographs copyright © 2020 by Jonathan Lovekin, except page 211 © Louise Hagger. Illustrations copyright © 2020 by Nishant Choksi. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.